District 27

I. Daneek Miller

Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, St. Albans, Queens Village, and Springfield Gardens

We are providing real-time updates on this webpage as new information and resources relating to the COVID-19 outbreak are made available. Although our office is closed, we remain available by phone, email, and social media. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.


  1. COVID-19 updates from Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and State and City agencies.
  2. Resources for seniors, parents and students, small businesses, non-profits, and more.
  3. *NEW* Frequently Asked Questions on June 23rd elections and more.

1. Updates as of May 29, 12:03 PM.

Statewide COVID-19 cases: 354,370+
New York City COVID-19 cases: 194,550+

Text “COVID” to 692-692 for Notify NYC alerts.
Text “New York” to 81336 for updates from the Governor’s Office.
Click here to sign-up for COVID-19 updates from New York State.

  • Governor Cuomo signed an executive order on May 28 authorizing private businesses to deny entry to any customers not wearing a mask.
  • The Department of Consumer and Worker Protections released a letter template in multiple languages that you can use to respond to aggressive debt collectors during the state of emergency. For more information about scams and other consumer issues, visit nyc.gov/consumers.
  • You can now enter your address to find where the closest COVID-19 testing site is near you: Get Tested in Your Community. You can also sign up for a COVID-19 antibody survey appointment. Visit nyc.bioreference.com/antibodysurvey or call 1-888-279-0967.
  • Alternate Side Parking will be suspended again for the next two weeks until June 7.
  • NYC has partnered with CityMD with the capacity for 6,000 antibody tests daily, 7 days per week. Walk-ins are welcome and there is no cost for the uninsured. These tests are available at all locations: Find a location. With this partnership, our daily citywide testing capacity has reached 20,000.
  • Registered NYC voters can request an absentee ballot for the June 23 elections: NYC Absentee. Please submit your request by 6/16.
  • The CDC recently released a new definition for what is now called Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) and has now confirmed a link to COVID-19. DOHMH is reviewing cases reported in NYC under the CDC’s new definition. Important precautionary measures to keep children safe include continuing to practice good hygiene, using face coverings, and social distancing.
  • Visit nyc.gov/covidtest to locate new testing sites near you.
  •  The TLC Driver Resource Center offers a wide range of services to all TLC-licensed drivers and medallion owner-drivers; including legal services, financial counseling, health and mental health referrals, and public benefits application support.
  • Find Community testing sites operated by NYC Health + Hospitals near you: Get Tested in Your Community – Coronavirus.
  • The eviction moratorium has been extended until August 20th, Governor Cuomo announced.
  • The MTA announced plans to close subway stations for nightly deep cleaning. Stations will be closed from 1 AM-5 AM. Click here for more information on the Essential Connector Service for essential workers.
  • The City is distributing 7.5 million free face coverings at a variety of locations, including NYCHA, DOE Grab & Go sites, Parks, and more. To find a location click here.
  • Halal meals are available at grab-and-go sites throughout the City to accommodate those celebrating Ramadan. Please see the resources section below for locations in and around the district.
  • The application for the Federal Paycheck Protection Program reopened April 27 for businesses and non-profits under 500 people. More information here and below.
  • New grading policies are being implemented by the Department of Education to account for the new remote learning model. You can view the policy on the DOE website by clicking here.
  • Absentee ballot applications will be mailed for the June 23 primary, ending the previous requirement to request an application ballot.
  • If you have have tested COVID-19 and are symptom free for at least two weeks, NYC is urging you to donate plasma for anti-body therapy. Visit nybc.org/covidplasma to donate.
  • Governor Cuomo announced NY Pause to last through at least May 28.
  • New Yorkers are required to wear facial coverings when out in public where they cannot social distance.
  • The City is releasing more data sets to update New Yorkers on the progress fighting COVID-19. Indicators will include people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19, people currently in Health and Hospitals in ICU for suspected COVID-19, and percentage of people tested who are positive for COVID-19. These updates can be found here.
  • 311 is expanding to include a hotline for New Yorkers struggling to pay rent. Guidance on tenant rights and sources of rent relief is available.
  • Report social distancing by calling 311 or going to nyc.gov/coronavirus
  • Alternate side parking suspended through April 28.
  • Testing is available in Southeast Queens. Aqueduct drive-thru testing is available by appointment only. To get tested you must make an appointment by calling the NYS COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065.
  • Additional data on COVID-19 deaths including demographic information is now available and will be updated regularly.
  • New York is canceling Regents exams scheduled for June.
  • Grab and go meals will be available for all New Yorkers. Participants can pick up three meals from 7:30am to 11:30am for families and children, and 11:30 to 1:30pm for adults. To find a location, text “NYCFOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877 or click here.
  • NYC has launched a dedicated portal for New Yorkers to give and get help during the COVID-19 outbreak. Visit www.nyc.gov/helpnownyc.
  • DOITT has developed a portal as a new tool to help guide the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. New Yorkers can self-report by clicking here. All information is confidential.
  • The tax lien sale scheduled for mid-May has been postponed until at least August.
  • New York State is offering free mental health services through a volunteer network of 6,175 mental health professionals. Call 1-844-863-9314 to schedule a free appointment.
  • Governor Cuomo announcing NYS PAUSE provisions, 100% of workers at non-essential businesses to stay home, and more. Other updates include a 90-day eviction moratorium on residential and commercial tenants. For a list of essential businesses click here.
  • Governor Cuomo announces new relief for homeowners, including a 90-day suspension of mortgage payments for people facing financial hardships. Foreclosures will also be postponed or suspended. Fees waived for overdrafts, ATMs, and credit cards.

2. Resources

For City Agency service updates, please click here.

Resources for Businesses

 Small Business Services is hosting webinars on resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 focused on financial assistance from the SBA and private organizations; tax, debt, and utilities relief; marketing and employee support; and regulatory changes. Full list of webinars here.

Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The application for the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) reopened April 27 for businesses and non-profits under 500 people. Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis. These are forgivable loans for payroll up to $100,000/employee (retroactive from February 15 so employers can rehire recently laid-off employees through June 30), interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.

Eligible businesses include all businesses, non-profits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors. Maximum loan amount of $10 million. Due to likely high subscription, it is anticipated that not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-payroll costs.

All loans will have: an interest rate of 0.5%, maturity of 2 years, first payment deferred for 6 months, 100% guarantee by SBA, no collateral, no personal guarantees, no borrower or lender fees payable to SBA. Loans are made available immediately through more than 800 existing SBA-certified lenders, including banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. It is recommended you try reaching out to your current financial provider first. The application form is available here. Apply ASAP- there is a funding cap and lenders need time to process your loan. You can only take out one loan under this program.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for Emergency Capital
There is an opportunity to receive up to a $10,000 advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for emergency capital. This update will be available in the coming days. In the interim, you can still apply for a full Economic Injury Disaster Loan, but will need to reapply for the Advance when the system is updated with a streamlined application.

SBA Express Bridge Loans
The SBA Express Bridge Loan enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBS Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. These loans can be term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. For more information, click here.

For more information on federal programs, click here.

Reach out to our community partners for more information:
Jamaica Center BID is providing COVID-19 updates and resources for businesses on its website: http://jamaica.nyc/covid-19-updates/
Queens Chamber of Commerce: https://www.queenschamber.org
York Small Business Development Center: https://www.york.cuny.edu/administrative/economic-and-workforce-development/sbdc

If you have a business that can help supply personal protective equipment to help fight the spread of COVID-19, you can fill out the forms here and here to express your interest in donating or selling.

Information for Employers and Employees
The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection issued a summary of the City labor laws for employers and employees in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Report Labor Issues
If you believe an employer is violating either existing labor laws or recently issued executive orders by the Governor, please contact 311, the Attorney General’s office at (212) 416-8700 or via email at Labor.Bureau@ag.ny.gov.

Resources for Job Seekers
The NYC Department of Small Business Services has launched a virtual Workforce1 Career Center System. You can connect via web or phone to get one-on-one help from professionals to assist you in your job search. All services are free and do not require in-person visits. Click here for more information.

Resources For Seniors
*NEW* Starting Monday, March 30, DFTA is shifting to a direct delivered meal system. DFTA’s congregate meals clients will receive direct delivery, which includes a five-meal package delivered to each older adult every week. Call your local senior center, DFTA’s Aging Connect, or 311 for more information.

Although congregate programming is suspended at senior centers, you can still access services over the phone or virtually. Call Aging Connect at 212-244-6469 to learn more about your options during this period of social distancing.

For more information about resource providers serving your area: https://www.liveon-ny.org/covid-19

For assistance with meals:
NYC Food Help https://maps.nyc.gov/foodhelp/#map-page
City Meals on Wheels https://www.citymeals.org/
Allen Community Senior Centers are providing meal pick-up service to seniors aged 60 and above (ID may be required). Meals will be given out between 11:30 AM and 1:00 PM only.

Online Classes:
SNAP (Services Now for Adult Persons, Inc.) is offering a range of online classes through Zoom including chair yoga, mindfulness, wellness, and exercise training. If you are interested in participating, please email mlesser@snapqueens.org and include your name, telephone number, and classes you are interested in. SNAP will contact you to ensure that you have the necessary device to participate.

Food Resources
Grab and go meals will be available for all New Yorkers. Participants can pick up three meals from 7:30am to 11:30am for families and children, and 11:30 to 1:30pm for adults. To find a location, text “NYCFOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877 or click here.

Halal meal locations:

  • IS 238 – 88-15 182nd St, Hollis, NY 11423
  • PS 69 – 77-02 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
  • IS 210 – 9311 101st Ave, Ozone Park, NY 11416
  • IS 137 – 10915 98th St, Ozone Park, NY 11417
  • PS 100 – 111-11 118th St, South Ozone Park, NY 11420
  • JHS 008 Richard S. Grossley – 108-35 167 St, Queens, NY 11433
  • Hillcrest High School – 160-05 Highland Ave, Jamaica, NY 11432
  • Thomas Edison High School – 165-65 84th Ave, Jamaica, NY 11432
  • PS 117 – 8515 143rd St, Jamaica, NY 11435

The New York City Department of Probation runs food pantries at our various NeON (Neighborhood Opportunity Network) offices through our NeON Nutrition Kitchen partnership with the Food Bank for the New York City and the Mayor’s Fund. 
In response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis, they are distributing food at four locations—providing one week of free pre-packed groceries for our neighbors in need. Those in need can get free pre-packed bags of food with non-perishable items and fresh produce according to the location.

SNAP Benefits
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will continue to provide nutrition benefits to families who need help purchasing healthy food. To apply for SNAP benefits online, please visit nyc.gov/accesshra or call 718-557-1399 to have an application mailed to you.

Resources for Non-Profits
For information and resources from the city, click here.
Guidance from the Mayor’s Office for contracted health and human service providers is available here. Additional questions can be emailed to c-19.hhsteam@mocs.nyc.gov

Non-profits are eligible to apply to the employee retention program offered through the NYC Department of Small Business Services. More guidance on applying to SBA loans will be available soon.

Resources for Homeowners
Governor Cuomo waived mortgage payments for 90 days for people facing financial hardships. There will be no negative reporting to credit bureaus, a grace period for a loan modification, no late payment fees or online payment fees. There will be a postponing or suspending of foreclosures.

Con Edison
Con Edison will not shut off electric, natural gas or steam service due to payment difficulties resulting from the health crisis. They are also waiving new late-payment charges for all customers. Learn more here about all the measures Con-Ed is taking during the pandemic here.

Information for Renters
New York has suspended eviction proceedings indefinitely throughout the state due to the COVID-19 outbreak until further notice. Housing court will remain open but all non-essential functions of the court will be postponed. Vital housing court functions such as landlord lockouts, repair orders, and serious code violations will continue. 

Housing Court Answers is providing a free hotline to empower renters and small homeowners. They are available to explain housing court and housing law, rent arrears assistance, and homeless prevention guidance. The number is 212-962-4795 and the hotline is available Mon-Fri from 9 am to 5 pm.

Mobilization for Justice, Inc. has increased their housing project’s hotlines to Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm (212-417-3888/212-417-3889 for BX only).

NYCHA’s rent hardship program provides assistance to residents who require rent reductions due to income losses. A household may qualify for a rent reduction based on rent hardship if all of the following conditions are met: (1) There is at least a 5% reduction to gross income. (2) Current rent is more than 30% of the net household income. (3) The reduction in income has lasted at least two months.

Unemployment Information
New York has waived the 7-Day waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to COVID-19 closures or quarantines. Click here for more information on how to file a claim: https://labor.ny.gov/ui/how_to_file_claim.shtm.

Resources for Parents
NYC DOE Remote Learning Hotline: 718-935-5100
The Department of Education has launched a form for parents of children who need tablets. Please visit here to fill out the survey: https://coronavirus.schools.nyc/RemoteLearningDevices
For children who will be learning at home, here is a helpful portal for age-appropriate education resources and guidance:
The Pre-K application deadline has been extended to Sunday, March 29th. Families can apply online via MySchools or by calling (718) 935-2009 (Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM). Pre-K offers will still be released in May.
The City is expanding its free grab-and-go meal program for students. Three meals a day will be available to all NYC children. Pickup is from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm. To find a location, visit: https://www.opt-osfns.org/schoolfoodny/meals/default.aspx

Resources for Students
Information and assistance are available to help manage student loans during the COVID-19 outbreak. Resources from the Community Service Society are available by clicking here. Over-the-phone and remote counseling services are available.

Regional Enrichment Centers for Frontline Workers
*NEW* Beginning March 27, Regional Enrichment Centers will provide childcare and three hot meals from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm for children of first responders as well as grocery, food, and pharmacy workers. To enroll, click here. These centers will also serve meals for students that need it.

The Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program, or MCCAP, can help you understand how to use your health insurance, access low cost care, apply for hospital financial assistance, resolve medical billing issues, and appeal coverage denials. Call the MCCAP helpline at (888) 614-5400, Monday-Friday, 9 AM – 4 PM. All services are free.

Mental Health Resources
NYC Well provides free, confidential mental health support by phone, text, or chat 24/7 in more than 200 languages. Text “WELL” to 65173, call 1-888-NYC-WELL or visit the NYC Well website to chat live online.

ThriveNYC has compiled a list of mental health resources that you can access by clicking here.

Resources for Survivors and Victims of Gender-Based and Domestic Violence
The Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence’s Family Justice Centers are closed, but victims and survivors can reach their office over the phone on Mondays to Fridays, 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. NYC Family Justice Center, Queens Call 718-575-4545. For assistance outside of office hours, call NYC’s 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline 800-621-4673. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE(7233) and also has an online chat option: https://www.thehotline.org/what-is-live-chat/. For additional resources, visit the NYC Hope Resource Directory online at: www.nyc.gov/NYCHOPE

Turning Point for Women and Families is working remotely. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 10 am to 6 pm. Please call at 718-550-3586 or email info@tpny.org
The follow services are available virtually:

  • Weekly Support Group for DV Survivors (Mondays, 12 pm- 1:30 pm)
  • Weekly Youth Group for Muslim girls ages 13-20 (Fridays, 4 pm-6 pm)
  • Individual Counseling Sessions for DV Survivors (Mon-Fri, 10 am-6 pm)
  • Services are available in the following languages: Bangla, English, Hindi, Punjabi, Turkish, and Urdu.
  • Turning Point for Women and Families created a resource for DV Survivors. You can click here.

Resources for Pet Owners
If you are a pet owner affected by COVID-19 and need assistance, call the Hotline: 1-877-204-8821, 8AM – 8PM, seven days a week.

NYC Parks Update
At this time, City parks and playgrounds are open, with the exception of the High Line.  Comfort stations within parks will remain open and will continue to be cleaned and resupplied regularly.  If anyone observes a comfort station that is not properly supplied, the best way to route the report is via 311, so the agency can be immediately notified and the matter can be addressed accordingly.  As of Tuesday, March 17, all City recreation centers and nature centers were closed to the public until further notice.  In response to the State and City’s directive, NYC Parks has canceled all events with 50 or more expected attendees through June.

DSNY Service Update
Core sanitation services will continue on schedule, with some delays expected. Some services, including electronics collection and food scrap drop-off sites, have been suspended.

Recording of our Taxpayers Rights Virtual Townhall with Brooklyn Legal Services:

Tax Payers Rights Town Hall

Join us for a Tax Payer's Rights Town Hall covering taxes and the economic stimulus packages during COVID-19. Co-sponsored by NYS Attorney General James and Council Member Daneek Miller.

Posted by Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A on Thursday, May 14, 2020

Recording of our Homeowners Rights Townhall with Brooklyn Legal Services:

BKA: Homeowners Town Hall

Join us for a Homeowners Town Hall. We will be covering foreclosure prevention and mortgage relief during COVID-19.

Posted by Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A on Tuesday, May 19, 2020

3. Frequently Asked Questions

June Primary Elections FAQ:


Are there elections on June 23? I’ve heard that New York’s primary was cancelled. Yes, elections are happening on June 23! The primary elections previously planned for Congress, state Assembly, and state Senate will be held. In addition, there will be a primary election for one city office: Queens Borough President. The vast majority of New York City neighborhoods will have at least one primary election on June 23. New York’s Democratic Presidential Primary is on June 23. 

How do I find out if there is an election happening in my area? Find the elections happening in your neighborhood and see who is on the ballot by entering your address at nyc.pollsitelocator.com, which will be available soon. If there is a contest listed for your party and district, that means you have a primary election to vote in! 


Can I vote by mail? Yes, for the primary elections in June Governor Cuomo has issued an executive order allowing any eligible voter to cast an absentee, or mail-in ballot. But you must request a ballot, by completing an absentee ballot application! The form must be completed and submitted by June 16. The completed ballot must be postmarked by June 22.

What is the process for voting by mail?

There are a few steps you need to take to vote by mail in the June election:

  1. Request your mail-in ballot, by submitting an absentee ballot application by June 16. (This first step is required in order for the Board of Elections to mail you a ballot. Don’t stop here!);
  2. Receive your absentee ballot at the address you included on the application form;
  3. Fill out your absentee ballot at home, using blue or black ink; and
  4. Mail in your completed ballot by June 22 to your county Board of Elections, using the postage-paid envelope you will receive with the ballot and sign the back of the envelope as instructed.

You can also bring your absentee ballot to your borough’s Board of Elections office in person until June 23, but we recommend using the mail so you can stay home and minimize in-person contact.

How do I request an absentee (or mail-in) ballot? The process is easier than it has ever been. This year, the Board of Elections is mailing every registered voter an absentee ballot application, which you can complete and return to request your absentee ballot. (The application sent to you by mail will include a postage-paid return envelope.) The application will be mailed to the address listed in your voter registration.  If you are away from your home, you can request that an absentee ballot be sent to your current location.

There are other easy ways to request an absentee ballot:

●   Online at nycabsentee.com

●   Email a completed application to AbsenteeJune2020@boe.nyc

●   Call 1-866-VOTE-NYC (1-866-868-3692) and request an absentee ballot

●   Mail a completed application to your borough’s BOE office

●   Fax a completed application to 212-487-5349

You only need to request a ballot once, using one of these methods.

How do I complete the absentee ballot application (or request) form?Complete the application using blue or black ink. If you wish to vote absentee due to the coronavirus pandemic, you should indicate that the reason is “temporary illness” (the definition of which has been expanded to cover the risk of contracting the coronavirus). You may request to have your absentee ballot sent to a location other than your home address. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is June 16.

Will I need to add postage when mailing in my application or absentee ballot? No. Per an Executive Order from Governor Cuomo, all absentee ballots mailed to voters for the June 23 primary will include pre-paid return postage.

How do I cast an absentee ballot? Complete the ballot using blue or black ink and follow all the written instructions carefully. You must use the return envelope provided with the ballot and sign the back of the envelope as instructed.

When do I need to send in my ballot? Ballots must be postmarked by June 22. The ballot mailed to you by the Board of Elections will include pre-paid return postage.

Will I be able to vote by mail in November? At this time, only voters with an eligible reason (or “excuse”) would be able to vote by mail. Eligible reasons are listed on the request form and include sickness, disability, residence in a long-term care facility, and out-of-town travel. For June, COVID-19 has been deemed an excuse by the Governor. This may be the case in November; we will update this page if this changes.


Can I still vote in person? Yes. In-person voting is still available, both during the early voting period (June 13 – 21) and on Election Day (June 23). You can find your poll site (which may be different for early versus Election Day voting) using the Poll Site Locator. Ballot marking devices (see below) will be available at all poll sites and Board of Elections offices. If you want to vote in person, we recommend voting early, if possible, since wait times are expected to be shorter and crowds to be smaller.


What if I cannot read or sign the application or absentee ballot due to disability? You may make your mark or have your mark witnessed in the spaces provided at the bottom of the application. Please note that a power of attorney or printed name stamp is not allowed for any voting purpose. For more information about voting absentee with a disability, please contact your county Board of Elections. You may also use a ballot marking device at your local poll site, your assigned early voting poll site, or at a BOE office.


How can I find out if my registration is up to date? The New York State Board of Elections has a useful web tool to check your voter registration status: voterlookup.elections.ny.gov. The tool will provide your current registered address, party affiliation, and your election districts.

Can I still register to vote on June 23? May 29 is the deadline to register to vote in the June 23 primary elections. To be eligible to vote in a party’s primary elections in June, new voters must enroll in that political party when registering.

How do I find out if I am eligible to vote on June 23? You can vote in the primary if there is an election in your district, held by a political party with which you are registered. Check your voter registration status and party affiliation with the voter look up tool from the NYS Board of Elections. Then, use the Poll Site Locator (which will be available soon) to confirm which races are happening in your community. Only voters registered with a party may vote in that party’s primary elections.

Questions regarding The CARES Act:

What does the CARES Act do for individuals?
The CARES Act has several elements to provide economic relief. Many Americans will receive direct cash, as well as expanded unemployment benefits.

  • Cash payments: Most individuals earning less than $75,000 can expect a one-time cash payment of $1,200. Married couples would each receive a check and families would get $500 per child. That means a family of our earning less than $150,000 can expect $3,400. The checks start to phase down after $75,000/year and disappear completely for people making more than $99,000 and couples making more than $198,000.

What do I need to apply to receive these funds? How is my eligibility considered?
The cash payments are based on either your 2019 or 2018 tax returns if you haven’t filed yet. People who receive Social Security benefits but don’t file tax returns are still eligible; their checks will be based on information provided by the Social Security Information.

When and how can I expect to receive my payment?
If you use direct deposit when filing your taxes, you can expect to receive the funds in your bank account in the next three weeks. If you don’t have a direct deposit set up, you can expect to receive a check in the mail in the coming weeks.

What are the changes to unemployment benefits?
The CARES Act adds $600 per week from the federal government on top of the base amount you receive from state unemployment. That boosted payment will last four months.

Am I eligible for assistance if I’m a gig worker or freelancer?
The CARES Act creates a new, temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through the end of this year to help people who lose work as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

What if I haven’t filed my taxes yet?
If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, you are still eligible to receive the cash payment. The filing deadline has been extended to July 15 for both federal and state taxes.

Will this impact the refund I’m expecting?
The cash payment will not impact your refund status. If you are owed a refund, you will still receive it.

Questions regarding COVID-19:

What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is one of a group of viruses that can cause illness ranging from mild diseases, such as a cold, to more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia. COVID-19 was only recently seen in humans, but is highly contagious and spreads from person to person.

What does community spread mean?
Community spread refers to the fact that people who have not traveled to the impacted countries or had contact with people who recently traveled are contracting COVID-19. There is now widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in New York City, meaning the sources of new infections are unknown. Everyone in New York City should act as if they have been exposed to COVID-19. That means monitoring your health closely and staying home from work if you are sick. New Yorkers who are not sick should also stay at home as much as possible and avoid all unnecessary social interactions.

What should I do if I have cold or flu-like symptoms?
Symptoms of COVID-19 commonly include fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, similar to what you would experience with the cold or flu. If you are experiencing these symptoms and suspect you may have contracted COVID-19, stay home. The Department of Health advises you to wait 3-4 days to see if you feel better before calling your doctor or utilizing telehealth services so as to not overwhelm the healthcare system. If your symptoms persist, reach out to your doctor and or call 311. Do not visit the ER unless you are seriously ill. If you are asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms, you can still spread the disease to others.

Can I get tested for COVID-19 right now?
If you suspect you have COVID-19 and your illness is mild, you do not need to see your doctor and you do not need to get tested. This is because getting tested will not change how your doctor will take care of you. If you do not feel better in three to four days, call your provider or call 311 if you need help getting medical care. You can get care in New York City regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.

Who is most at risk of complications from COVID-19?
People who are most at risk for severe illness are older adults or those who have chronic health conditions, such as lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and a weakened immune system.

What precautions can I take to avoid contracting COVID-19?
1. Practice social distancing:
Stay home. All New Yorkers – healthy or sick – need to stay home to protect vulnerable populations. Only leave your home for essential tasks like work (if you are unable to work from home), getting groceries, supplies, or essential medical care. Try to use delivery services as much as possible.
2. Practice good hygiene:
Wash your hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds every time or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you don’t have access to a water source. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Avoid shaking hands. Instead, you can wave or elbow bump.
3. If you are an older adult (over 70 and otherwise healthy) or over 50 with any of the pre-existing conditions listed above, avoid all unnecessary gatherings and events.